Chris Dempsey of the Denver Post recently pondered the merits of a JaVale McGee for Roy Hibbert swap and seemed to view it in a favorable light. Don’t get me wrong; I love Chris’ work, but I believe such a trade would be akin to a proverbial swap meet, with the Denver Nuggets and Indiana Pacers essentially trading junked projects.
More than a year ago, the Pacers apparently called then Nuggets GM Masai Ujiri to discuss this same trade, and Ujiri, always enamored with McGee’s freakish athleticism, politely declined. With Tim Connelly ushering in a new era of questionable Nuggets decision making and with the Pacers practically begging for teams to consider taking their baggage off their hands, it makes sense that this trade rumor would again surface.
I can barely begin to count the number of reasons I think this would be a bad decision, but as always, that won’t stop me from trying.
First, and foremost, I’d have to assume the entire Nuggets front office forgot to pay their cable bill during the playoffs, because anybody who saw Hibbert play for even one game would surely realize that the man is flat-out the softest big man in the league. I mean really, in what world does a 7-foot-2, 320-pound man fail to grab a single rebound in any one playoff game?
I know people are saying that his historically awful playoff performance was an aberration and point to the fact that he was named an NBA All-Star this season for a reason. To them I say you are exactly correct, and that reason is that fans are often completely uneducated when it comes to their All-Star votes. Al Jefferson was perhaps one of the biggest snubs of all time.
Secondly, Hibbert averaged 6.6 rebounds during the regular season. Let that soak in for a moment. To put that into perspective for you, that is barely two more rebounds than Steph Curry was able to pull down per game.
Third, and I think we can all agree here, both McGee and Hibbert are widely considered erratic, inconsistent players. Hibbert, however, is due roughly $3.5 million more than McGee for the upcoming season. In essence, the Nuggets would be trading one wildly unpredictable player for a slightly less athletic and more expensive one.
Oh, and they would also need to throw in one more player in order for the trade to work, most likely Wilson Chandler given the Pacers’ current needs.
I’m sure I could go on and provide further justification for the complete insanity a trade for Hibbert would represent, but I think I have done enough damage to the man. It’s really nothing personal. I am also not opposed to shopping McGee and his exorbitant contract, but I would recommend that when doing so, the Nuggets look to upgrade the team, not anchor it down with unwise investments.
On the bright side, assuming Hibbert would opt in to the final year of his contract, the Nuggets would be in prime position to make a run at Kevin Durant when he becomes a free agent in 2016. So there’s that. Sigh.